June 23, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

Last week we reflected on the role of Prophets in our lives, that is, how we listen to other people – through praise or criticism. The Israelites didn’t want to listen to God; they thought they knew better. Because of their disobedience, Israel was punished.

During a long stretch of time, the Israelites began to have an identity in the world. This time was still before there was a king in Israel. Without the Prophets the Israelites went through a time of what the Scriptures call Judges. These people were not judges as we know them from the Law courts. These were individuals who would lead them through various stages in their journey. Think of them as superheroes. They were to be leaders that were supposed to lead the Israelites through difficult times. The primary book of the Bible that talks about them is the Book of Judges.

The main theme in this book is that if the Israelites followed the authority of God, they would prosper. However, they thought they knew better, and they used earthly politics to guide them. Judges (21:25) states In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own sight. Keep in mind that this book was probably written after Israel was a kingdom and had a monarch (Saul). In writing the book the author was probably looking at the mistakes that were made. There were disasters after disasters. The writer of Judges points out that God, Himself, was to be the Israelites King. However, the Israelites looked to their neighbors for an identity. Because of those thoughts, they suffered.

We make the same mistakes today. When it comes to Spiritual matters, how often do we apply earthly solutions, and utterly fail? How often do we think that we, ourselves, have all the answers? How often do we think that the Church is backward and doesn’t think like her followers? How often do we want to be like everyone else? How often do we think the Church is a Democracy instead of having God as our Leader? How many times do we act as if the Church is a cafeteria, letting us pick and choose what we want to believe?

Politics isn’t the answer. Jesus Christ is. Remember His teachings. Jesus would not permit people to politicize Him; He would not allow them to make Him an earthly king. The main point of the book of Judges is that the answers we need are not political; Politics cannot save. God saves.

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